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Development of the Leadership Self-efficacy Scale for Engineering Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Assessment I: Developing Assessment Tools

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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So Yoon Yoon Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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So Yoon Yoon, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral research associate at Texas A&M University. She received her Ph.D. and Educational Psychology with specialties in Gifted Education and Research Methods & Measurement from Purdue University. Her work centers on P-16 engineering education research as a psychometrician, program evaluator, and institutional data analyst. As a psychometrician, she revised the PSVT:R (Purdue Spatial Visualization Tests: Visualization of Rotations) for secondary and undergraduate students, developed the TESS (Teaching Engineering Self-efficacy Scale) for K-12 teachers, and rescaled the SASI (Student Attitudinal Success Inventory) for engineering students. As a program evaluator, she evaluated the effects of teacher professional development (TPD) programs on elementary teachers’ attitudes toward engineering and students’ STEM knowledge through a NSF DRK-12 project. As an institutional data analyst, she is investigating engineering students’ diverse pathways to their success.

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P.K. Imbrie Texas A&M University

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P.K. Imbrie is the Deputy Director for the Institute of Engineering Education and Innovation and Associate Professor in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University. His research interests include educational research, solid mechanics, experimental mechanics, microstructural evaluation of materials, and experiment and instrument design. He has been involved with various research projects sponsored by NSF, NASA, and AFOSR, ranging from education-related issues to traditional research topics in the areas of elevated temperature constitutive modeling of monolithic super alloys and environmental effects on titanium based metal matrix composites. His current research interests include epistemologies, assessment, and modeling of student learning, student success, student team effectiveness, and global competencies; experimental mechanics; and piezospectroscopic techniques.

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Teri Kristine Reed Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Teri Reed is assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs for engineering academic programs in the Texas A&M System and an associate professor in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, 3126 TAMU, College Station, TX, 77843-3126;

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The purpose of this research paper is to develop and validate process of a leadership self-efficacy scale for engineering students. As we face rapid changes in technology, society, and the world, the National Academy of Engineering (National Academy of Engineering [NAE], 2004) identified leadership as one attributes that engineering students must develop by the time of graduation along with the following traits: strong analytical skills, creativity, ingenuity, and professionalism. This is because of the growing number of opportunities for engineers who work in the multidisciplinary environments to take a leadership role as their career advances in the social-political-economic world. Similarly, in the report entitled Educating the engineer of 2020: Adapting engineering education to the new century published by National Academy of Engineering reinforced importance of engineering students’ leadership development as reforms for engineering educators (NAE, 2005).

Since this society and industry need engineers who can be a leader of multidisciplinary teams for their stakeholders, development of leadership capacity for engineering students becomes important for engineering education institutions. Therefore, at the university level, institutions have provided supplemental programs that engineering students can take during college education period. However, there has been a lack of appropriate instruments to understand and diagnose the current approach and efforts of institutions to develop engineering students’ leadership (Cox, Cekic, & Adams, 2010).

According to the Bandura’s (1977) theory of social learning, leadership self-efficacy can functions as a source of motivation to be a leader in a team setting (Paglis & Green, 2002). Here, leadership self-efficacy for engineering students can be defined as engineering students’ personal belief in their capability to develop leadership for a team with a vision through goal setting, team motivation, and innovative changes while considering ethical actions and integrity. Therefore, such an instrument to assess leadership self-efficacy can provide evidence-based information regarding engineering students’ leadership development.

Based on the literature review on leadership theories and development, six factors necessary for engineering students’ leadership development were considered for assessing leadership self-efficacy: (a) leadership opportunity, (b) goal setting, (c) team motivation, (d) innovative changes, (e) ethnical action and integrity, and (f) engineering practice. For item constructions, we generated 105 items to be content specific for engineering students. The 105 items represent a combination of new items based on the engineering leadership literature and modified items from the existing leadership instruments. All the items in the initial pool were judged by a panel of 8 professors and graduate students in engineering and education disciplines as well as 9 undergraduate engineering students. To confirm face and content validity of the instrument, the panel has reviewed, discussed, and nominated about 69 items for the six factors.

As a next step for a scaling procedure, approximately 5,000 engineering students, enrolled in an engineering program at a large southwestern university, were invited to respond to the instrument. By randomly splitting the collected data, an exploratory factor analysis was conducted to identify a latent factor structure of the instrument using one half of the data. To finalize the items and factor structure of the instrument, a confirmatory factor analysis will be applied with the other half of the data. In addition, item analyses based on classical test theory are planned to evaluate overall psychometric properties of the newly developed instrument.

Yoon, S. Y., & Imbrie, P., & Reed, T. K. (2016, June), Development of the Leadership Self-efficacy Scale for Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26832

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